February 8, 2016

· Poems

“The Heaven of Animals” by James L. Dickey

Here they are. The soft eyes open. If they have lived in a wood It is a wood. If they have lived on plains It is grass rolling Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come, Anyway, beyond their knowing. Their instincts wholly bloom And they rise. The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers, Outdoing, desperately Outdoing what is required: The richest wood, The deepest field.

For some of these, It could not be the place It is, without blood. These hunt, as they have done, But with claws and teeth grown perfect,

More deadly than they can believe. They stalk more silently, And crouch on the limbs of trees, And their descent Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years In a sovereign floating of joy. And those that are hunted Know this as their life, Their reward: to walk

Under such trees in full knowledge Of what is in glory above them, And to feel no fear, But acceptance, compliance. Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle’s center, They tremble, they walk Under the tree, They fall, they are torn, They rise, they walk again.

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